In response to the worst state budget crisis since World War II, the Texas House has proposed slashing $27 billion from the budget, including huge cuts to education, nursing homes, and health care for the poor. Yet last Friday, the Texas House Ways and Means Committee approved a tax break for those who want to buy yachts costing $250,000 or more.
The bill was originally estimated to cost Texas $1.4 million annually in lost revenue.
Under the current proposal, $7.8 billion will be cut from Texas public schools, four community colleges will close, 60,000 students will lose college financial aid, as many as 97,000 teachers and school employees will be laid off, 9,300 government jobs will be eliminated, Medicaid will be shortchanged by nearly $14 billion, and health and human services funding will plummet by a quarter.
Texas has a curious approach to balancing the budget, as I've noted earlier in Cutting Jobs to Create Jobs, and Texas May Eliminate Medicaid, which contains this little list:
Texas also has*:
The third highest teen birth rate
The third highest poverty rate
The lowest number of high school graduates
The lowest voter turnout
* from an interview on NPR
It's difficult to imagine how eliminating colleges and teachers will help the state of Texas, but clearly yacht owners and their elected officials aren't interested in the long term. They're interested in what they personally get, right here, right now.
It is breathtaking that Texas is so honest in presenting their priorities. Educating children and caring for the poor and elderly aren't important. Tax breaks for those who fund the campaigns of those who will continue to provide tax breaks for the funders of campaigns - now that's a priority.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org